by Andrew Hudgins
Half awake, I was imagining
a friend’s young lover, her ash blonde hair, the smooth
taut skin of twenty. I imagined her
short legs and dimpled knees. The door scraped open,
but eyes closed, I saw nothing. The mattress sagged.
She laid her head on my chest, and murmured love
against my throat, almost humming, approaching song,
so palpable I could hold her only chastely,
if this was chaste. I couldn’t move my hand
even to caress her freckled shoulder.
So this is how imagination works, I thought,
sadly. And when at last she spoke,
she spoke with the amused voice of my wife,
my wife who was at work but also here,
pleased at the confusion she was causing.
This is a lesson about flesh, isn’t it?
I asked. Blowfly, she whispered on my throat
as we made tense, pensive love. Blowfly, blowfly.
Andrew Hudgins is the author of The Never-Ending (a finalist for the National Book Award) and Saints and Strangers (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize). “Blowfly” was originally published in Poetry and is included in his recent collection American Rendering: New and Selected Poems. It is reprinted here by permission of the author.